Professional blackjack players don’t usually achieve the same stardom as professional poker players, as the game of blackjack does not pit players against each other. However, those who made it to the top, nevertheless, have definitely left their mark on the game of 21 as masters.
Furthermore, only a few professional blackjack players gained widespread recognition, notoriety, and reputation. Keeping that in mind, we have created a list of the top ten blackjack players of all time.
1. Theodore Johnson
You can’t overlook Johnson’s name if you’re interested in reading about successful blackjack stories. His fifteen million dollar victory spread out among three Atlantic City casinos within six months made him famous.
During the game, Johnson received two 8♦, which he evidently divided, and another set of 8♠, which he split once more, all on a $10,000 wager. Johnson doubled down on both the 2 and the 3 dealt by the dealer. At last, the dealer revealed two cards totalling fifteen and drew a ten, setting Johnson on a winning run.
This was the first instance of a monthly house loss at blackjack since the casinos in Atlantic City began in 1978. Conversely, Johnson stated in an interview that he never engaged in card counting because doing so could lead to a player’s ejection from some casinos.
2. Edward O. Thorp
Many blackjack enthusiasts consider Edward O. Thorp the greatest player in the game’s history, and he certainly ranks in the top 10.
Thorp, in contrast to most blackjack greats who have always made blackjack their vocation, focused on other work areas. He earned a doctorate in mathematics from UCLA in the ’50s.
A math professor who was an early trailblazer in using probability theory in practical settings, he continued his career after that. Before he became a great blackjack player, Thorp made money in the stock market by using his understanding of probability and statistics to find chances.
3. James Grosjean
James Grosjean is among the top professionals in blackjack and a very respected player overall. While he was a student at Chicago University, he first encountered the game of blackjack.
Beyond Counting and Exhibit CAA: Beyond Counting is a best-selling book this professional player wrote. The mathematical explanation of the advantage played in gambling is given by Grosjean in both of these works.
He was well-known in the gaming community for his triumphs in court over the Imperial Palace and Caesars Palace and for his skill as a blackjack pro in defeating the house edge.
Thousands of players have relied on his advantage play methods, which he developed in plenty. Furthermore, Grosjean holds the record for being inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame at the youngest age ever.
4. William Bennett
Bill Benter is the only professional blackjack player with a generous spirit and a successful career. In addition to his political involvement and charitable contributions, the immensely accomplished player Benter is a staunch believer in giving back to the community.
He had a successful but brief professional blackjack career before he was busted for card counting at a regular game at the Maxim. After that, nearly every Las Vegas casino banned him. Not long after that, he began betting on horse races and, using a computerized strategy, became a huge winner at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
5. Ken Uston.
As far as blackjack greats go, Ken Uston is up there with the first true stars. He gained notoriety for his exceptional card-counting skills in the early 1970s. For blackjack players of his time, the millions of cash he made playing the game in casinos was unfathomable.
We owe much to Ken Uston, whose fame and success shaped the game into its modern form. Counting cards got him kicked out of multiple casinos at the peak of his career.
Not long after, he prevailed in a high-profile litigation that prevented casinos from banning card counters. So, in an effort to deter and stop players from counting cards, casinos began to use more decks.
6. Bill Benter
If one only considers financial outcomes, it is arguable that Bill Benter is the greatest and most successful gambler ever. The amount of money Benter made from gambling was close to $1 billion.
He achieved this largely as a result of developing a programme that analyzes horse races in an extremely accurate and successful manner. The 21 game was no different from Bill Benter’s statistically-driven approach to horse racing; he was laser-focused on his blackjack wins.
He used his exceptional mathematical abilities to beat the casinos in Las Vegas at card counting. As a result of his stellar career, the Blackjack Hall of Fame inducted him in 2016. But Benter’s brief stint playing blackjack in the late 1970s and early 1980s sets him apart from most players on our list.
7. Kerry Packer
The professional blackjack player Kerry Packer is practically a byword for top-tier blackjack strategy. He showed off his exceptional skill at eight hands at multiple blackjack tables in Las Vegas casinos in 1995. He was not afraid to take risks, such as betting $250,000 a hand and winning 20 times in a row. He was one of the most courageous gamblers the world has ever seen.
His baccarat winnings were pitiful, in contrast to his stellar Blackjack performance. Actually, during the span of ten months, he lost about £27.4 million playing baccarat. Packer proved that success and failure are inherent in both blackjack and life when he won $7 million one night and lost $10 million the next at the Hilton casino in Las Vegas.
8. Russ Hamilton
Russ Hamilton, a professional who went from revered to reviled inside the gambling scene, is the most divisive figure on our list. Still, no one can deny his impact on the game or his proficiency at blackjack.
Elimination Blackjack, which Hamilton invented, was his most significant contribution to the game. This tournament style combines traditional blackjack and No Limit Texas Hold ’em.
The legendary Ultimate Blackjack Tour adopted Elimination Blackjack as its primary format in the mid-2000s when the game was already quite popular.
9. Theodore Hyland
One of the most famous blackjack figures, Lawrence Revere, influenced Thomas Hyland, who has frequently said as much. Reading Revere’s “Playing Blackjack as a Business” inspired him to launch a professional blackjack career.
Hyland put together a quartet in 1979, with each player putting in only $4,000 total. They increased the bankroll to approximately $50,000 in only a few short months. However, Hyland’s achievements did not end there. In the 1980s, he brought together a fresh squad and began to achieve even greater success.
10. Stanford Wong
Stanford Wong abandoned a career in academia and teaching after quickly discovering blackjack that he was more suited to a life of professional blackjack. Despite the inherent danger, this was the best course of action.
Wong rose to prominence as a top blackjack player in a matter of years. He published a book “Professional Blackjack”; he frequently releases gambling books written by other well-known authors and players.
His software, “Blackjack Analyzer,” was his brainchild. Though he initially created it for personal use, Wong quickly made it available for business use. This programme was one of the first of its kind and revolutionary for its time.